Latest findings on financial services companies’ TV ad spend, social media use and other trends.

WHAT IT MEANS: Top spenders: Clientèle Life; Outsurance. FNB leads on Twitter; Capitec on YouTube.

Insurer Clientèle Life was the top-spending financial services brand on television in the second quarter of 2016, followed by Outsurance, as both brands battle for the hearts and minds of SA’s cash-strapped middle market.

The figures were collated by research company Ornico and presented at the Financial Mail’s AdForum event.

Clientèle Life flighted just over 10,000 ads in the period at a cost of R195,000 and Outsurance paid R124,000 for 18,000 flightings. Absa, whose account is reportedly out to pitch, spent R133,000 — R9,000 more than Outsurance. Other big spenders were All Life (R92,000), Nedbank (R59,000) and First for Women (R43,000). Standard Bank spent only R42,000.

Rounding out the top 10 TV spenders are 1Life Direct, Budget Insurance and Discovery Insure.

Ornico also looked at how the big five banks were using social media. FNB, an early adopter in this space, tops the list with 119,000 Twitter followers, followed by Standard Bank (75,000); Nedbank (74,000); Absa (56,000); and Capitec (34,000). However, Capitec has stolen a march on its rivals with a dominant position on YouTube subscribers – just over 6,000 compared to Nedbank’s 5,000.

Nedbank dominates the relatively newer Instagram space with 13,000 followers, way ahead of rivals FNB and Standard Bank. The statistics show Capitec is a marginal player on this platform, while Absa doesn’t even feature.

FNB appears to use Facebook more effectively than its rivals, scoring over 700,000 "likes" followed by Absa (643,000) and Capitec (218,000). Nedbank scored just over 160,000 likes.

While activity on social media is important, traction is more critical. Measuring success across growth, content, response and sentiment during May, Nedbank tops the list, followed by Absa, FNB, Capitec and Standard. However in terms of content generation in a media environment where brand stories and testimonials are becoming more relevant, Absa leads with Standard Bank a distant fifth.

Brands across the world are also being judged on community outreach and involvement and to that end Absa is the most successful of the big five banks with over 20,000 mentions across all social media platforms, followed by Nedbank and FNB. FNB, though, garners more positive sentiment than any of its four main rivals.

Ornico’s study also looked at key brand trends in the financial services sector in Q1.

To that end, retail clients are demanding more "all inclusive" banking based on partnerships with other brands. Clients are also insisting on "an improved user experience" with real-time identification of problems and their speedy resolution.

Banks, says the study, are also looking at more innovative lending and paying more attention to concepts like crowd-funding.